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cheshireguy

GR Bar Scene

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So I thought in light of the restaraunt review thread, we should have a thread dedicated solely to the GR Nightlife. Grand Rapidians, weekenders, and potential travelers can use our feedback here to plan a night out or six. Also, local bar owners can peruse this thread for ideas to better their establishments.

I'll start with my favorites - - I look for a more subdued scene without too much glitz or posturing - I could sit a Bull's Head Tavern all night and people watch. It has a great beer and drink selection, is right in the heart of all, and the decor is wonderful (think 1890's South African safari theme).

Also, I really like the scene at the Grand Woods Lodge. I always see to have a great time there and the ambiance is second to none. It has the look of an upscale cottage, complete with a rustic, working fireplace.

Recently, we went to the Monarch's Club on the west side near Salvatore's. Excellent tap beer (Founder's , New Holland, Okicim, etc), beautiful floors/walls/ceiling (old Boston look to it), the best jukebox in a while, the only knock would be no smoke ventilators. There were only six or seven of us in there, 5 smokers, and it was really cloudy.

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I'm a fan of Gardella's...usually not jam packed on a Friday or Saturday night and no DJ or dance floor if you're trying to avoid that. Pretty reasonable prices, too. Plus on Wednesday nights, everything is half off. The Anchor on Bridge has some of the strongest, cheapest drinks.

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actually, on the 2nd floor of gardella's, they have a dj on friday and saturday.

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Gardella's makes me wish I wasn't born.

I dig,

Monarch Club

Hideout

Founders

Rockies

Cottage Bar! But more for brew fries

Graydons Crossing 20% of the time

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I like lo-key spots with great music. These are my fav's:

Rockies

Monarch

Graydons

Founders

Bar Divani

And some dive spots:

Nick Finks - Comstock Park (if you haven't been here you really must check it out if just to see the velvet wallpaper)

The Holiday (jello shots on weekends, how hot is that?)

Wengers - $1 Miller High Lifes and a fantastically terrible jukebox!

Pickwick Tavern

Some occasional spots when I'm with friends who are wanting to meet people:

Cambridge House

Gardella's

Never Ever:

Margarita Grill

Taps

Mojo's

Monte's

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My gods, I can't believe I didn't put Billy's in Eastown on my list. If you are any kind of music lover, go there right now. Plus, they serve 1.50 Old Style Bottles!!!!

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In descending order of your likelihood of finding me there:

Billy's (every Friday happy hour)

Logan's

Monarch

Graydon's

Rockie's

Reardon's

And when I'm feeling punchy Mulligan's.

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It is interesting how alot of the people that comment on this site all go to the similar places. Just thinking how many times we have probably crossed paths without ever know, just cause we are at our regular places.

My favorite places in no particular order:

Sazerac

Rocky's

Monarch

The Web

Our Tavern

Teazer's

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Mojo's

Flanagan's

McFadden's

Grand Woods Lodge

:alc:

(I've always wanted an excuse to use that emoticon!)

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Mojo's

Flanagan's

McFadden's

Grand Woods Lodge

:alc:

(I've always wanted an excuse to use that emoticon!)

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im with you (except for McFaddens, bleh)

lets not also remember the Black Rose and Monte's... I pretty much just follow the drink specials :shades:

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I also am a fan of Logans, Billies, Black Rose, and the Boar's Head.

Soon the Meanwhile will be on my list.

I am not into Mulligans, too many people messing with me and the music is so loud you can't talk.

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I also am a fan of Logans, Billies, Black Rose, and the Boar's Head.

Soon the Meanwhile will be on my list.

I am not into Mulligans, too many people messing with me and the music is so loud you can't talk.

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Monday's Jukes is nice $1 old style and PBR Bottles

Logan's alley has some of the best beer selection in town.

Elbow room for some darts.

Founder's

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Flanagan's

McFadden's

Grand Woods Lodge

:alc:

(I've always wanted an excuse to use that emoticon!)

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I am going to add The Black Rose. Mostly quiet atmosphere, real Irish food, great ambiance, and excellent customer service.

I am not a fan of McFadden's on College Nights. I admit that there are plenty of attractive women there on college night, but the immaturity is unbelievable.

One thing that I am disappointed in is the quality of training for Bartenders in the Grand Rapids area. When I was living in Philly and when I visited NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, or New Orleans, the biggest thing that I notices was how well the bartenders were trained. I swear that they had eyes out the back of their heads and knew their bar well enough that they could do their job with their eyes closed. Every pour was perfect, and the wait time was a just seconds. One guy in at Egypt in Philly opened 10 bottles in under 5 seconds, and then made three mixed drinks with the same minute. It was very impressive and people kept buying.

I know that GR is not one of those cities, but I figure that exceptional customer service should not be something that should be limited to major cities. I think that many of the bartenders I have met have the skill to not only be as good as someone in NYC or Philly, but much, much better.

But then again, I am of the understanding that if it is possible, it should be done.

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Hey your stepping on my toes here!!! j/k, but seriously I bartend; the major difference between NYC and GR is that bartenders in NYC make 50k plus (I have a friend in Miami that makes 80k a year in some podunk bar). In GR that simply is not the case.

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Not that I have ever bartended, but a big difference between GR and a big city is that most big city bars are full every night, whereas here those nights are pretty much only on the weekends.

My point is that I think that it takes consistent practice to be at a high level of service. And if 5 nights a week your business is brisk at best, then you are going to have to "ramp up" your service to handle those peak nights.

Here is my theory: Let's all start drinking downtown every night and the service will get better! Or, it will at least seem better because we have all been drinking. :lol:

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My two cents (plus tip...)

top 5 (that I frequent)

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When in Rome(GR)......

  • The Apartment

  • Elbow Room

  • Bar Divani

  • Cambridge House

  • Founder's

  • The Anchor

  • Putt Putt's

...reviewing that list; it's pretty all across the board

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nonnekes- where is the Silver Derby at? And Dave, where is Putt Putts? I love the lists they accompany, so you guys must know what you're talking about.

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I second the Silver Derby (Burton, just east of Eastern). Pickwick is pretty sweet too.

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nonnekes- where is the Silver Derby at? And Dave, where is Putt Putts? I love the lists they accompany, so you guys must know what you're talking about.

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